tv [untitled] August 28, 2013 10:30pm-11:01pm EDT
i think we. should have you with us here on. earth that is conversations with great minds i'm joined by dr cornel west a self described champion of justice through the traditions of the black church dr west is one of america's most important public intellectuals and a fierce advocate for democracy he currently serves as the professor of philosophy and christian practice at union theological seminary and is the author of twenty
books including the classics race matters and democracy matters to cornel west and joins us now from our new york studios dr west it's an honor to have you with us thank you so much for the lesson for you to have me. for me. what what started you know we we've. we bounce off each other a number of times over the years you know you know my show and speaking in the same venues and things but i've never had an opportunity to really get in a conversation with you about what got you started on the path that led you to were you are now what sparked your interest in both politics and religion. though to be quite honest that has to do with living in the middle of the american empire and wrestling with the vicious legacy of white supremacy i grew up in california was born into those local home. was deeply affected by lynching the going back to family deeply affected by this discrimination with jim crow and. grow in america
very unique and distinctive it was the terrorizing of the traumatising it was a stigmatizing of black people but of course it was connected to genocidal attacks on indigenous peoples and marginalization of brown people then subordination a working peoples of all colors of brothers and from the very beginning the legacy of martin king and fannie lou hamer and ella baker and in the black panther party fundamentally shaped of who and what i am. was there any particular moment in your life or event in your life or around you in the world at large that caused you to say ok i'm going to do this are going to go in this direction or this this has to be my next no i think in many ways of the death of the king june able one thousand nine hundred sixty eight something deep inside of my heart in the heart of many people the specially black people the people to call it die and the question of what would be resurrected what would be reinvigorated given that vicious murder in this nation of martin king and it was also connected of course to the death of love
so many anonymous the nameless people struggling at the time and of course assassinations of malcolm x. and. variety of the fred hampton's and bobby the black panther party the sense of people who were willing to forfeit their lives. for the furtherance of truth and justice those of the best the language did you know john brown november second eight hundred fifty nine the last speech that he gave that spirit of being willing to pay the ultimate cause for a cause greater than one's own self-interest yeah yeah and in that context and in their frame i'm curious if you. see any parallels between what happened to emmett till and what happened to trayvon martin. well no doubt no doubt that you know by the immaterial as you know precious precious brother from chicago went down the good but the jim crow mississippi was shot down like a dog bell. the old jim crow the jim crow that was legalized was american law as
you know given your magnificent work my brother was american law to not just criminalized black people but to terrorize and. traumatize black people with rather trayvon martin the son of the new jim crow where young black males especially poor black males and females are criminalized to demean their degraded as a form of soul murder that enables physical murder as in the case of the zimmerman still call of the murder us to call it a killing in that sense no matter what the lol say as i do not accept races vertica don't accept race doers but i recognize they have to come to terms with the reality of those kind of verdicts and jurors decisions but there is parallel in the sense that the old jim crow in new jim crow and this is this is part and parcel of not just affecting black people but affecting working people it makes it very difficult of course the people of different colors the come together to keep track of the
oligarchs keep track of the plutocrats here and around the world and it makes it very difficult for white liberals and black liberals to gain a footing in a context and with the truth about their hypocrisy is more and more disclose and. i want to get into the hypocrisy in just a second but just to finish on the jim crow theory my friend and colleague joe madison was here a couple days ago and he said you know it's no longer jim crow it's now james crow e s q and and to its certain extent that that it's that subtle more subtle more pulling away we see what the supreme court we see with all these states ash angell these laws and and it makes it i think harder for average white people who who don't have much contact with the issues and don't think about these issues it's not the same kind of in your face stuff we saw. when you and i riyadh you know
back in the sixty's and seventy's. how do we cut through that how do we expose that it seems like the trayvon martin murder and the george zimmerman trial has at least cracked open that conversation but it's got to be a lot more than that doesn't i know that's true that's true but i want to come back to weatherfield madison he does a magnificent job down in washington d.c. is the black eagle but there is a difference between james esquire jr that holds for the black middle classes because it's not in the face of the black middle classes and their children but for the black poor and their children the new jim crow is just as in your face would stop and frisk as you know well dixon number of others and most of what the jail distance year or so ago to try to highlight stop and frisk where they've had over they've had millions of young brothers and sisters who are stopped and frisked only about four percent have any connection to any crime it's been all about seven hundred thousand every year that's in your face the it's the exponential explosion
in the president just too complex is in your face sixty two percent of those precious brother the source of the vocals the disposer black and brown of their because of soft drug offenses white community thirteen within the white community take drugs thirteen percent of black you it takes drugs over fifty five percent of the convictions are black so the mass incarceration which is a class of course race and class and race being inexplicably into a woman and that is as in your face as the old jim crow so that the james esquire jr is at work for black professionals but in terms of the black poor the new jim crow it's been vicious and in the black liberal leadership hardly says anything about the new jim crow course you want her you hear brother broke obama say a mumblin word about the. new jim crow whatsoever so when you talk about we're a nation of laws. well i mean it's
a joke in terms of the levels of lawlessness of the united states wall street criminals lot and whole for them not one executive going to jail. the wiretap or is the law in over them and what the torture of the law doesn't hold for them all the corruption that we know at the top the wickedness at the top hardly touched but when it comes to criminality the zero in on the weak zero in on the most vulnerable in that's new jim crow and ed new jim crow was vicious raul course and brutal james esquire jr for the black middle classes brown middle classes very very weak but still operating as it were i mean you know what i consider the kind of thing we witnessed in the last twenty years the kind of really nigger azazel of the black professional class now in the history of america have so many black people have so much money power status but never in the history of black america have so many
black professionals been afraid intimidated deferential to power supply subservient to the status quo we used to have elements of black pit bulls was it ever tell the truth in our churches and the lawyers and doctors now so many of them a bought off so many of us selling out and it's a sad thing to see that's what i mean by the moral bankruptcy of so much of the black liberals in the black professional class we can bounce back but we have to tell the truth about oh and barack obama in many ways is exemplary of that moral bankruptcy and that moral inconsistency in terms of turning his back to the new jim crow turning his back to the black poor turning his back to those folks who are dealing with brutal circumstances privatizing of education you see in decent housing. in a indescribable levels of massive unemployment and underemployment of people having been employed for. years of born years don't even figure not even on the radar
screen in the statistics that come out of the labor department they're suffering totally invisible ines the kind of thing that deeply deeply upsets me as you can imagine my book you talk about liberal hypocrisy. and. you just i had not heard at length you speak before about liberal hypocrisy within the african-american community but certainly you've spoken about it within the white community is there a fundamental difference between the two. oh sure sure namely because of course black liberals to have to deal with this is legacy of white supremacy and you see it on m.s.n. b.c. in the last few days that the hurt is genuine among the black professionals is genuine among the black upper middle classes because racism in a white supremacy is still very real this vicious some people say well for the first time i feel some alienation from the state i feel over against my government you don't say well just get a little time in the prisons been
a time on the block's been a little time among people who have been wrestling with the underside of the american empire for the last thirty years with this class war from above one sided against poor and working people of all call of stagnating wages and profits going up but this particular issue of trayvon martin where the rall very role and who are side of the repressive apparatus of the u.s. nation state and its imperial tentacles becomes unavoidable becomes you have to you have to confront it and so black liberals then have a capacity at think to be good to see something that many white liberals may not see because they're children of course still not subject to stop and frisk still not subject to the kind of thing the brother trayvon martin had to go through i think there's a lot of white liberals was told or even understand why privileges. you say what i said i think there are a lot of white lie. still don't even understand the concept of white no no i think
that's true but i think what we do. well we've got to. teach we've got to embrace because they still have the capacity to be progressive but you just don't trust them and you tell the truth that it's a brutal truth it's a painful truth and they accept it and grow or they don't accept it and live in a state of denial which is often the case now of course you've got right wing that we can't forget about i mean you've got eleven hundred white supremacist militia groups in america that's one thing that upset me about my disgust of or one of the grand of black freedom fighters in the sixty's with the obama administration in their cold is justice department put a two million dollars bounty on her he it on the terrorist list the top ten terrorist list you think of all of the white supremacist militia groups all of the various folks terrorizing indigenous peoples. peoples brown people none of them on
the list but it's. on the list how hypocritical can you get that's what i mean by the moral bankruptcy of black liberalism and blacks and centrists but the but you have to just tell the truth as you know i'm a christian oh brother i'm a revolution a christian i'm a jesus loving free black man coming out of the legacy of martin king which means that i. acknowledge that no matter where one is at the moment one can potentially be better therefore you don't allow one's whole humanity to be defined as where one is at a particular moment people can change this. group over time magnificent all of us undergoing change and transformation i don't like to freeze any of us at a particular moment but i do believe this my brother the depths of my so. i believe that a child. in pakistan. yemen and somalia has exactly the same status as a child and newtown connecticut in the south. in koreatown in the brown barrio.
own indigenous peoples reservation i am an internationalist across the bullock a doctor was we were coming out our legs were lawn clean it includes the root he was we were part of that part and forgive my interrupt you but we've got to take a break on this i will be able to write about more of tonight's conversations with great minds of dr cornel west right after the break. technology innovation all the developments from around russia. the future covered. wealthy british style. writers.
market. come to. find out what's really happening to the global economy with mike stronger for a no holds barred look at the global financial headlines tune in to cause a report. that has a new alert animation scripts scare me a little bit. there is breaking news tonight and we are continuing to follow the breaking news here. in the alexander family cry here's a. great thing that. read arquette a court found alive there's a story made for a movie is playing out in real life. mission
free cretaceous free in-store chargers free arrangement three discs three stooges free. download free broadcast quality video for your media projects a free media dog r.t. dot com. and welcome back to conversations great minds and speaking with dr cornel west professor of philosophy and christian practice at the union theological seminary and professor emeritus at princeton university dr was welcome back first. when we had to take a break at the. oddities of television or whatever we just had to cut in there and you were in the middle of a of a really good riff about being an internationalist children around the world and
the obligation of americans of all colors race well i don't want to put words in your mouth you want to finish that thought and share you know what brought you to that observation and where do you think we all should be going from that. i think that a lot of the roads to internationalism zlata rose to universal infamy as a christian it has to do with the cross and across the necks and bodies on condition. of unconditional love on the one and on truth and condition of truth is to allow suffering to speak so anybody from the concern about truth from a concern about injustice is what it looks like in public in the way in which tend to this is what it feels like in private when you go to be an internationalist and this is what i mean by trayvon martin has exactly the same status as that new baby that will be born with. with that precious doll it rather than in india
with those in east timor with those and anywhere in the world as it were and we always have to test our leaders i mean is is that the case that president obama has a commitment to justice for trayvon martin but the same level as intensity as he does in persecuting brother bradley manning and brother edward snowden but you see for me it's quite ironic that you get black president black leaders who on the one hand talk about their connection to the struggle for black freedom when you see brother bradley manning brother edward snowden they all the john brown's of the u.s. national security state of the u.s. massive surveillance state in the same way my dear brother the blue and green wall and chris my brother chris hedges. they all the way in lloyd garrison of the u.s. national security state which is to say i use the paradigm of the struggle for black freedom as a struggle for the freedom of everyone and you have those will in the forward their
lives manning. those who will in the tell the truth against unbelievable bourbon cutting against the grain green wall hedges and we get at some others as well no make line and glynn for the dear brother bruce dixon and margaret. millie bailey and margaret kimberly of the black agenda. the magnificent raid what is it the black agenda report that's what it is. these are the folks who all the bears who the witness bears and it's very difficult for their voices to surface but if they don't surface. in a world of trouble but we are you mention and speaking of that use you mentioned the zimmerman trial we've we've touched upon it very briefly up to this point but i'm curious first of all just in general your thoughts on the acquittal of george zimmerman and more specifically it seemed quite clear to me that there were two
standards of justice that basically two people were put on trial at the same time that george zimmerman was on trial for killing trayvon martin but trayvon martin was on trial for being such a threat to george zimmerman that he was worthy of being shot and the standard of justice that was explicit in the trial and explicit in the media and i couldn't figure out why nobody was they had their head exploding around this was that george zimmerman was held to the standard of oh if he was afraid he should have shot but the standard of justice that was being held for trayvon martin was a oh if he was afraid he should iran. what the hell is going on. this is what i meant was he criminalize the people. and it's not just dehumanizing but it means those who are in power are subject to do what they will in order to preserve themselves or their man could have done nearly anything in order to preserve
himself once he's perceived as dealing with a criminalized person minnes villain a gangster as it were and you keep in mind i mean the criminal justice system in america historically has been itself criminal when it comes to black people and people of color i mentioned before two hundred forty four years slavery was a lot of land for most one hundred years jim crow was the law of the land so therefore as a nation of laws it was deeply white supremacist law that was races laws and under a new jim crow especially as it relates to polies of police power vis the black poor it's. criminal so that the criminal justice system itself is criminal in terms of its treatment but is not a crime based on the criminal justice system and that's where the legality and morality depart. that's where the law itself lacks any ethical content where the man with the king jr went to jail in birmingham said the laws are themselves criminal and the behavior of the polies
a criminal that's the martin to say in a letter from a birmingham jail and that's precisely what we must say today but we must say it and loved this is very important you see of love is not in and it's all sounding brass and thinking symbol is not about hating. george zimmerman it's about hating the white supremacy inside of him as hating the criminalising proclivities inside of him a lot of secular left as well this is don't like me saying this but i have to speak the truth on the stand and i don't believe that the hating of person the pulls the hating of systems of global all the dark excess of the matter where they are it could be and states can be russia they can be as south africa they can be in and south america where ever they are all the guard. plutocracy must be called into question wherever every day people are wherever ordinary working people are they must be supported their humanity must be affirmed over against these oligarchic
systems and the same is true in the united states but as you know in united states we we we have tremendous challenges in terms of the law that we're willing to live under and the crime that we're willing to often be indifferent toward i mean you know u.s. drones now over two hundred innocent brothers and sisters in pakistan and yemen and somalia and counting no serious debate about it you know manning discloses the the video and those who invaded who were involved in a crime go free the person who exposed the crime he sent to jail for life i mean this is the level of hypocrisy that we're dealing with and this is been a challenge ever since the founding of this nation and the us who own the progressive side of history will just go down swinging like. on to tell the truth and bear witness to live and that's you know can we talk about partisan politics for a second. tour the i had dinner the other day with
a friend who's who used to be a republican and still is fairly well connected in those circles a white republican and he said the gerrymandering that's going on is that there's a lot of people scratching their heads looking at all the republican gerrymandering it's going on trying to figure out why republicans would go into a congressional district that's already consistently electing democrats and still keep it democratic but they would move a lot of african-americans into that district and he finally confronted somebody about this what's going on and what came back and again this is second hand this may not be the case but this and i thought what came back was our goal over the next twenty years is people think long our goal over the next two censuses. is to try to make sure try to get to the point where virtually every elected democratic official big democratic official has a black face so that the democratic party is perceived as the party of black people
so we're going to take white congressional districts moving up black to those districts that a white person be replaced by a black person and that we won't have to do anything about racism the intrinsic and inherent racism subtle racism that white people don't even realize they have will come out and that'll be the end of the democratic party aide you think that's a crazy conspiracy theory although it seems to me that that's actually what they're doing and if so what are we here what are your thoughts on that. well i mean you know the republicans would do anything to grab power but democrats are doing it in the power to i mean my assumption is i reached a point in my life my brother where i think the two party system in the american embodied in the merican political system system itself is dying that both parties themselves are just so vacuous when it comes to any kind of serious moral witness the big money to the big corporation the the big banks they are slight differences between them in terms of social issues so our present gay brothers and sisters yes
they must be protected they must be supported women must be protected and supported but when it comes to the issues of poverty it is a bipartisan consensus neither party is talking about it all when it comes to the prison industrial complex have you heard any party say anything about the hunger strike in california you know thirty thousand fold torture it's torture solitary confinement long sustained solitary confinement older forms of torture and not among them where you see the bipartisan consensus toward snowden you see the bipartisan consensus in terms of the wall street democratic party obama themselves tied to walls be bailing out wall street not bailing out homeowners not supporting the trade union movement manipulated trade union movement and the way you manipulate black folk what you other so-called special interest groups in the democratic party boat. parties at this point just so more abundance strikes me that we need either social motion and social activism on the outside or fundamental transformation of a new party or
a break off very similar to what would have been eight hundred fifty s. a break off from both parties the coming together i do like small elements of the libertarian. perspective i am a libertarian to the reader which rights and liberties must be essential and part of the dividing line these days is between authoritarian government that is undermining rights and liberties and those who are defending rights and liberties and you can be a rand paul who talks about drones only in relation american citizens not not american civilians but out we need to talk about both but i'm with a rand paul but rand paul and i would agree would about what you know we rebel five or six percent but the libertarian element is really important that's impossible realignment between progressives and those who are concerned about rights and liberties but the two party system for me is about gone in terms of its effect the midst of i think i think you nailed it dr cornell west thank you so much for being with us thank you and i salute you my brother thank you have great to see this and
other conversations with great minds go to our website and conversations and create find stuff. is not a failure of the cuban people it's a. strong. when a sunset nation sabotaged back by the officials both hostility and suspicion encouraged by the government these operations against cuba were known to the
attorney general of the united states to present a united states himself the defendants intelligence arms how to infiltrate to resist. national agencies freedom fighters terrorists. who is who. well no real terrorist please stand up on our cheek. fully under full strong arm an ally should be polished face i think you're right peter. was. a pleasure to have you with us here on t.v. today i'm sure.
on larry king now the backstreet boys howie chapman a.j. bryan and they. sat on the back. i mean these guys actually became more family than mine and they actually raised me and. actually brian mentioned to me that they were my car he was his car and they talked about their tour that's the one that everybody knows but you know we didn't do that by fancy but what we have and the statements on top the stage. split our pants cavanagh's time when he was up on the wires and slowing their hands ripped off it's all next on larry king now. welcome to a.